img.0Images courtesy of Trace Architecture Office
Commonly associated with northern chinese cities, ‘hutongs’ are a type of narrow street that connect single storey courtyard houses, known as ‘siheyuan’. during beijing design week 2015, local practice TAO / trace architecture office has unveiled the complete renovation of one such dwelling. located in beijing’s historic baitasi district, the ‘split courtyard house’ provides rental accommodation for young people working in the area.
img.1The buildings retain their tile-clad pitched roofs
A traditional ‘siheyuan’ features a central courtyard with a series of connecting rooms, a layout not suitable for modern day living. consequently, the design team rearranged the site to provide private space for four individuals, organized around a shared living room. this pinwheel configuration also ensures that each resident has their own secluded external courtyard.
img.2Each resident has their own secluded external courtyard
Apricot and date trees have been chosen for the private patios, while internally, beds have been elevated in order to free up the ground floor for other uses. a skylight and full height glazing provide natural illumination and establish a stronger connection with the natural environment. at the heart of the plan, the communal area offers a space for residents to converse or dine together.
img.3Apricot and date trees have been chosen for the private patios
In terms of its construction, the house has been built using a lightweight prefabricated wall panel system, that both shortens the work period, and reduces onsite disruption. externally, the buildings retain their tile-clad pitched roofs, while internally, white surfaces present a simple and bright backdrop appropriate for modern living. transformed from a traditional typology, the dwellings are a new type of single storey house, inserted within the vernacular hutong context.
img.4The scheme attempts to establish a relationship with the natural environment
img.5Apertures of various shapes are found within the designimage © designboom
img.6A skylight and full height glazing provide natural illumination
img.7Beds have been elevated in order to free up the ground floor for other uses
img.8Sleeping accommodation is found at the upper level image © designboom
img.9The communal area offers a space for residents to converse or dine together
img.10White surfaces present a simple and bright backdrop appropriate for modern living
img.11A narrow entrance provides access
img.12Hua li, founder and principle of TAOimage © designboom